13 January 2006

Book of the month

I've just started Francis Wheen's "How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World", and it's been getting me needlessly annoyed on the train morning and night all week. So far he's set out with laser precision exactly how little common sense our rulers have, and how much they rely on stupidity of every creed.

Obviously, Dubya and his god thing. Reagan and his horoscopes. But it isn't just the nazis, the Democrats are as bad. Hillary Clinton regularly met new-age gurus who spoon-fed her bullshit, Al Gore shrank from condemning "intelligent design" while running for President, and our own Tony Bliar is not only a christian but has swallowed hook, line and sinker all the management consultancy gibberish which now passes for New Labour policy.

And these are supposed to be the clever people. When he deals with the weirder end of things, from Sunday Tabloid astrologers to surreal-titled corporate personal growth books ("God wants you to be Rich"; "The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun"; "If Aristotle Ran General Motors") all you can do is laugh. It's a very funny book if it wasn't so depressing.

You'll find a much better precis here, so I'll leave you with a quote Wheen gives at the beginning from the German Philosopher Immanuel Kant:-

"Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! Dare to Know! "Have courage to use your own understanding!" - that is the motto of enlightenment."

Or, as Public Enemy put it, don't believe the hype...

Mod out.